The Guns of August Audiobook [Free Download by Trial]

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The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman

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In this Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, historian Barbara Tuchman brings to life the people and events that led up to World War I. This was the last gasp of the Gilded Age, of kings and kaisers and czars, of pointed or plumed hats, colored uniforms, and all the pomp and romance that went along with war. How quickly it all changed and how horrible it became. Tuchman masterfully portrays this transition from the nineteenth to the twentieth century, focusing on the turning point in the year 1914, the month leading up to the war, and the first month of the war. With fine attention to detail, she reveals how and why the war started and why it could have been stopped but wasn't, managing to make the story utterly suspenseful even when we already know the outcome. A classic historical survey of a time and a people we all need to know more about, The Guns of August will not be forgotten. Winner of the 1963 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award. The 2009 AudioFile Best Voice for History: Wanda McCaddon.



  • The author clearly possesses a wealth of knowledge on the subject matter. The book provides a thorough and comprehensive lesson, although it does suffer from an excess of unexplained French quotes, references, and terms. This lack of interpretation left significant gaps in my understanding, further exacerbated by the aristocratic French accent pronunciations. It felt like trying to explain English to a non-native speaker, causing frustration. Moreover, the inclusion of brief references to historical events without proper explanation forced me to frequently pause and search for additional information to grasp their significance to the overall narrative. This book might be better suited for a French-speaking historian rather than an interested novice like myself.
  • Tuchman's account of the individuals and factors that played a pivotal role in World War I, as well as the initial month of the conflict, is a captivating and energetic narrative that embodies the essence of a gripping novel. As someone who continuously seeks out historical texts that effectively depict significant global events, this book has effortlessly secured its place at the forefront of my must-read list!
  • I'm torn about giving this a low rating because my reasons have little to do with the author or the narrator. After hearing great reviews of The Guns of August, I had high expectations when I bought the audiobook. Barbara W. Tuchman’s writing style is clear and concise, exactly what I look for in historical non-fiction. Nadia May's narration deserves praise as she brings life to passages that could have been monotonous. But here's the problem. The book has too many characters and scenarios for me to fully grasp in audio format. When reading a printed book, I can easily flip back a few pages to remind myself about the different generals and their allegiances. This is not as simple in audio. Around a third of the way through the book, I decided to keep going and hope that I would eventually catch up without constantly rewinding. However, when I reached the two-thirds mark, I found myself overwhelmed with the multitude of characters and plots. It's not an enjoyable experience and I'm not gaining any new knowledge. I plan to revisit this book in print in the future.